Lang vows progress on competition law

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Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade, yesterday promised that his department would find new ways round blockages that have prevented a long-awaited reform of competition policy, writes Peter Rodgers.

In 1993, the Government said it would give new and tougher powers to the Office of Fair Trading to investigate and ban restrictive practices. But the DTI has been unable to secure parliamentary time to introduce the legislation and there is no sign of it appearing in the Queen's Speech this week.

In an interview with the Independent, Mr Lang admitted that "legislation needs the agreement of all colleagues, space in the programme and time in Parliament - not all of those can necessarily be taken for granted."

But he said he had new ideas about how to get round this obstacle, which might include using private members' bills, inserting changes to competition law in other bills proceeding through Parliament or - in some areas - avoiding primary legislation altogether.

Interview, page 23